A year ago on the 4th of July I was in Myrtle Beach running a 5K. I got a new PR of 21:55 (7:04 pace) AND beat my husband which was a huge goal of mine. I was hoping that this year on the 4th of July I would be running another race, either pregnant or with a new little one in our family, since we were trying to get pregnant at the time. We found out we were expecting two months later, and this year on the 4th of July I ran the Heritage 5 Miler in Fredericksburg at 6 weeks postpartum.
Somehow we all got up and made our way down to Fredericksburg by 7:15 a.m., which was pretty much a miracle. I am so thankful for my amazing husband, who was willing to stay with our two boys while I ran. One in the stroller, one in the carrier… he is a super-daddy for sure!
I picked up my race packet, made a quick bathroom stop, and lined up with time to spare. Usually I feel nervous before races, but I went into this one with no watch and no expectations (not even a secret goal like usual, haha!). I really just wanted to have fun and enjoy my return to racing without any pressure.
Right on time at 7:45 the gun went off and we were running!
The first few minutes felt amazing! I was so happy to be racing again, especially in downtown Fredericksburg, which is one of my favorite places to run. However, after the initial adrenaline wore off I noticed some pain in my left foot near my heel. It made me really nervous, and I wondered if maybe I shouldn’t be running this race.
But after about 10 minutes my foot stopping hurting and I was feeling normal again… so weird! I got back into my rhythm and enjoyed the scenery around me. I had no idea what pace I was running and I didn’t care. I wasn’t jogging leisurely but I wasn’t pushing it either, so I was surprised when I passed the first mile marker and a race volunteer who was shouting out times said we were at 9:05. I decided to go with it since I felt good. I knew I could always slow down later or stop to walk if I ended up needing to.
The course for this race was very familiar to me since I run here all the time. It took us from downtown Fredericksburg onto the Heritage Trail by the Rappahannock River, and then onto the Canal Path. It’s very scenic and I love it! The last time I ran this route I was 34 weeks pregnant and feeling slow and heavy. On this day I was feeling strong and so happy!
We exited the Canal Path to head back toward downtown with about a mile left. When I passed the volunteer standing by mile 4 they shouted out that we were around the 37 minute mark, so I figured my pace must have been about 9:15. I couldn’t believe it, especially considering it was pretty warm and humid.
I turned the corner to run the final stretch and I saw my boys on the side of the road cheering. It was so great to see the THREE of them for the first time during a race. It felt really special.
Kevin has become a race spectator professional and loves to give the runners high fives as they pass. It was so adorable when he realized that I was coming. He gave me a big smile and said, “Mama!!” My heart melted 🙂
The finish line was just ahead right after I passed them, and it was slightly downhill. Gotta love that! I was so happy to see the clock as I crossed. I did so much better than I thought I would.
- Finish Time – 46:20 (9:15 average pace)
After getting some water and a snack I reunited with my boys. Apparently Kyler missed me while I was gone and demanded to be taken out of the Ergo, so my husband was pushing the stroller while holding the baby at the same time. He’s such a trooper!
We made our way back to the car so I could change into a dry shirt and feed Kyler, then we walked downtown to enjoy the 4th of July festival they had going on. They had a parade, a craft show with lots of tents and vendors, food, children’s activities like a moon bounce (which Kevin loved!), and music. It was a lot of fun!
Eventually we all headed home for naps and showers, to rest and prepare for more Independence Day activities with friends later that evening. It was a busy, wonderful day!
This was my first 5 mile race ever and I’m so happy with how I did. It feels great to be back out there and racing again. Plus I had a pretty cute cheering squad 🙂 I have a lot of work ahead of me to get back to where I was a year ago, but I know that I’m strong and I’m very excited to see what I can do in the future! Happy 4th of July (a few days late!).