This morning I ran the VA Runner Blue & Gray 5K for the second year in a row. Last year I ran with a group of friends, and this year I was with Kevin, my brother-in-law Brandon, and little Kevin in the stroller. It was a cold, snowy, wonderful morning!
After a Winter Storm Advisory and threats of freezing rain and snow all weekend, I wasn’t sure this race was going to happen. I was really hoping it wouldn’t be canceled, because it was Brandon’s first timed 5K and the last race I needed to complete my goal of running one race per month. Luckily when I woke up on Sunday morning and checked the race website, I saw the race was on, so we got ready to go and headed out!
The race was in Fredericksburg, which is about a 20 minute drive for us. When we got there we bundled up the baby with a ton of layers and put him in the stroller with the weather shield on top. We quickly found Brandon and went to get our bibs and timing chips. It was freezing and starting to sleet, and I was more than a little jealous of the baby who was all warm and cozy inside the stroller.
We watched the half marathoners start at 7:30 (I was very thankful to only be doing the 5K, that’s for sure!) and we had 15 more minutes until our race started. I’ve been trying to do a longer run on the weekends so that I’m prepared to start marathon training again, so I went out for a mile or so warm up since I had about 15 minutes to spare. I ended up stopping at a McDonalds to use the bathroom quickly too, since the porta-potty lines were long.
I made it back to the start just as the 5K was beginning. My tummy felt a bit off and I wasn’t feeling like “racing,” so I just told myself to take it easy and enjoy my run with all of the other crazy people who were out there. I said goodbye to the boys (Kevin was pushing little Kevin in the stroller) and went on my way.
The course is a simple out and back with a couple good hills thrown in there. I’m not sure what my splits were since I warmed up in the beginning, but I just went with what felt good. I tried to stay super aware of the wet ground and the runners around me. Ever since running the OBX Marathon where everyone was so friendly and supportive, I try to smile and encourage runners around me. Even though it was cold and wet outside, everyone was in good spirits!
I hit the turn-around point and headed back the way I came. Shortly after I saw Kevin and Brandon who were looking good. I made my way up the big, long hill I had run down on the way out, and felt amazing as I passed people. As much as I hate the hills around where I live, I know it does me good to run them!
As we entered the shopping area where the finish line was, I found myself behind three women. I gave it a final kick and out-sprinted all of them at the end. Of course my competitive side comes out during a race that I claimed I was going to run easy and not worry about :).
My official finish time was 26:29, average pace of 8:31. 4 minutes slower than the PR I got back in October, but that’s okay, because that’s not what this race was about for me. I handed in my timing chip and turned right around to go find Kevin and Brandon. I ran into them about 3/4 mile from the finish. Brandon’s shins were hurting and he was doing walk/run intervals, but he looked good. The baby started getting fussy because he was tired of being in the stroller, so I took it and ran ahead so I could get him out. We waited at the finish line, and a few minutes later they came around the bend.
Brandon really pushed it at the end and gave it all he had. They finished in 43:01. He is now motivated to lose some weight to take pressure off his shins and bring his time down. I am so proud of him! Also, Kevin told me after they finished that he had to stop in the first mile to help push a car that had run out of gas over a hill. Talk about bonus points :).
We got some refreshments and the boys quickly found the beer truck. Because beer at 8:30 a.m. is always a good idea, right? There was an awesome tent filled with delicious, hot food like pizza, Krispy Kreme donuts, Qdoba’s rice and beans, and even hot chocolate and (hot) Gatorade. I wasn’t really feeling like eating much, but everyone was loving it. Kevin said the hot Gatorade was really weird though.
We checked results and realized that I had somehow won 1st in my age group. Awards were at 9:00 so we went inside the VA Runner store to stay warm. Little Kevin was such a trooper and was in good spirits despite it almost being nap time. He had fun looking at running shoes and playing with a cute dog.
At 9:00 the awards began and I received mine: a gift certificate to the store- SCORE!
I was very happy to be a part of this event for the second time and I will definitely be back next year. I love supporting small, local races! I already have my eye on another one soon!
When we got home we put the baby down for a nap, and I ate a delicious, hot bowl of oatmeal followed by a hot shower. We spent the rest of the day relaxing at home with some random chores like cleaning and laundry thrown in, while it snowed outside. That night we ordered pizza for dinner. It was a perfect Sunday, especially when I got the news that school is cancelled tomorrow. SNOW DAY!!!