This past Saturday I ran my 9th race while pregnant – the Arlington 9-11 Memorial 5K – at 37 weeks and 3 days pregnant.
This race took place in Arlington which is right outside D.C., and right near the Pentagon where one of the planes hit on 9/11. Part of the course actually wraps around the Pentagon itself. I was really excited to run for such a great cause and do my last race while pregnant.
Like the 5K we did two weeks ago, this race was an evening race that started at 6 p.m. Also like that race, it was storming pretty bad beforehand and we weren’t sure if it would still be happening or not. We parked near the start and hung out in the car for a while, hoping the rain would stop.
Eventually the bad storm passed and although it was still raining, we heard that the race was still on, so we made our way to the starting area to pick up our things and wait. They had moved all of the pre-race stuff inside a hotel in Crystal City, so we were able to be dry and comfortable while we waited.
Washington D.C. and the surrounding areas have a HUGE running community, and every race I have ever done around here has been packed. This one was no exception. There were so many people!
Unfortunately, the start time of the race came and went as the race directors tried to deal with the weather and the volume of people. One of our biggest race pet peeves is when a race doesn’t start on time. We were cold and getting hungry! I couldn’t wait to start running and neither could Kevin… as you can clearly see in the picture below!
I tried to entertain myself by watching people around me staring and pointing at my belly, and taking pictures of how ridiculous my bib looked pinned to it 🙂
Eventually around 6:25 we were off and running! Kevin has been training to get faster at the 5K, so he went ahead like usual and I settled into my comfortable pregnant running pace. I had no idea what pace this was because I didn’t have my Garmin, but I felt good!
Pretty much the entire race felt like one big obstacle course, between the number of people, the potholes and cracks in the city roads, the huge puddles and wet streets, and the people who were walking but decided to start in the front of the pack for some reason (another pet peeve of ours!) I had to pay really close attention the entire time to make sure I didn’t run into someone or trip. I was really afraid of this since my balance isn’t the greatest right now, but I ended up being just fine.
The course had two out and backs, so I got to see Kevin twice during the race which was so exciting! He was running fast and looking great. I couldn’t get my camera out fast enough to catch him, but seeing him put a big smile on my face.
The race went by super fast, and I only ever saw one mile marker at mile 2. I had no idea how fast or how far I had run, but I knew I wasn’t pushing it too hard. I had a lot of entertainment throughout the race. There were a lot of people running in formation and chanting military-style, and teams of firefighters and police officers running in remembrance of those that had been lost on 9/11. I also saw a man running totally barefoot!
I started to feel some Braxton Hicks contractions toward the end of the race which was interesting. I haven’t had them while running before! It wasn’t painful but my stomach was super tight and felt weird. Luckily I could see the finish line, and right at the end an older man running next to me asked me when I was due. He almost fell over when I told him 2 and a half weeks 🙂 He said I was amazing, then we raced each other to the finish! I saw Kevin waiting right by the finish line like he always is and noticed that the clock said 34 minutes and some seconds. Later on I found out that my official time was 32:45, which is the EXACT time that I ran the Gender Defender 5K two weeks ago- down to the second! That is crazy! I also met my goal for this race which was not to walk. I was proud to have run the entire time and that I felt great while doing it!
Afterwards Kevin and I made our way through the crowds to the finish area. He grabbed a beer and we picked up our bags that we had checked. He told me that he finished in 23:43, which was better than last time. He used this race as a training run to get ready for his goal 5K, which is in 4 more weeks.
We were ready for some dinner so we didn’t hang around long. We made our way back to our car to change into dry clothes and find some food!
It feels bittersweet to know that I ran my last race while pregnant. Baby and I have been through a lot over the last 9 months, and I have truly loved the journey of figuring out how to run while pregnant. I’m not sure when I will be wearing my “Running for Two” shirt again, but I’ve definitely made a lot of good memories in it during this pregnancy that I will never forget.