About a week before Christmas I got an email for a 5K road race being hosted by the local high school track program. Matt and I are both "alumnus" of said program and the girls coach is the same man that I ran for way back in the day. We both like to support the team and needed something to keep us motivated to keep running as the temperatures outside continued to drop. A few days and a few freezing cold runs later I suggested to Matt that we should sign up for another winter race in February to keep us on track...and before I knew it "The Year of Running" was all laid out.
The premise is pretty simple, run a road race every month for the year 2015. We set a few guidelines (we both have to register for the same race, the races have to be in Maine, and at least one needs to be a 10K or longer). The remainder of this post will serve as a recap of our races so far. Going forward I would love to write up each race in it's own post. I also have another post drafted with the more specific training details that I will get posted in the near future.
Frozen 5K - Sunday January 11th, 2015
On January 5th our first race of the year, "The Frozen 5K"...got snowed out! Perfect. Luckily, rather than cancel the race the organizers moved it to the 11th. Having an extra week to get in a few runs was not such a bad thing! The 11th was our 12 year "dating anniversary" so it seemed fitting that we would start out on a year long goal together on the anniversary of where it all began! My mom came over and watched all three kids and Matt and I headed over to the high school. We had agreed pre-race that Matt would run his own race as opposed to running together. About fifty-five people turned out, it was relaxed and friendly, and the temperature was a balmy 24 degrees. I realized after we had pulled into the parking lot that I did not bring my earbuds, oops. So I ran the race to the sound of my own huffing and puffing. Aside from that Matt and I were both really happy with the race and our times.
Matt 26:03 (23rd overall) April 28:28 (32nd overall)
Luv Me 5K - Saturday February 14th, 2015
Since we already had our January race on the calendar I set my sights on finding a February race...which was surprisingly sort of difficult. Turns out not a whole lot of people attend outdoor races in Maine during the coldest month of the year, go figure. Since our options were limited we decided on a race in Rockport, which is about two hours away, on Valentine's Day. I decided that I really wasn't ready to be away from the baby for an overnight so Matt happily agreed to push Hugh in the jogger. We booked a room at the host hotel, made arrangements for the bigs to sleep at my parents', and ordered a weather shield for the jogger!
My goodness Maine is beautiful! We were so happy to drive up the coast and take in the scenery from our amazing hotel balcony. The morning of the race was absolutely frigid, about 15 degrees, but we were all dressed for it so I wasn't too phased. Hugh was possibly a tad overdressed considering he was a little red in the face before we even started.
The course was super flat at the start, downhill in the middle, and then a gradual uphill all the way back to the finish. I would have run the course more aggressively at the start had I known there were no major hills to climb on the way back. Matt ran just behind me pushing a sleeping Hugh for the first half of the race and then put a little distance between us toward the end. Overall I was really happy with how I ran and I felt really good at the finish! If we were to do this race (or any overnight really) again we would have gotten up early and driven to the hotel on race day, then stayed race night in the hotel. It would have been nice to use the pool and relax after the race instead of taking a short shower and then immediately getting in the car to go pick up the bigs.
(the results online cannot be correct because Matt finished ahead of me and my runkeeper app had us about a minute faster but below are the "official" results)
Matt (pushing the jogger) 29:40
Irish Road Rover 5K - Sunday March 1st, 2015
After the February race we only had two weeks to get ready for our March race. This time we ran a large race in Portland called the "Irish Road Rover". Matt, me, and 747 of our closest friends turned out for this race on Sunday March 1st. Portland races are fun because of the big crowds. The bar that hosted the race had a live band playing in the street. The weather was gray and it felt like it might start snowing any minute but the temperature hung right around 30 degrees and I was comfortable. As Matt and I made our way to the start we again agreed to "run our own race". I am small and in a big crowd of runners it is easy for me to maneuver quickly away from the start line crunch. Matt tends to get a slower start with his long stride being constantly interrupted by the crowd. After the first minute or so I saw him pass me and I settled into a comfortable pace 9:20. This particular race is a down and back...up a giant flipping hill. Munjoy Hill spans about a half mile as you climb about 100 ft. The views at the top are some of the best in Portland and totally worth the pain, especially when you know the last mile of the course is all downhill!
Again, Matt and I were both really happy we did this one. It was the hardest course we had run up to that point which made our PRs that much sweeter.
Matt - 25:42 (229 overall) April - 28:08 (342 overall)
Care 4 Kids 5K Sunday April 12, 2015
Onto April! We signed up for a race on my birthday, April 12th. This was the greatest amount of time we had given ourselves between any two races. With Lily's birthday and Easter having just passed and our "epic family road trip" only a few days away we were feeling a little stressed about squeezing this one in. The race we chose was in a near by coastal town with some pretty amazing beach views. Matt's mom and dad met us at the race and watched the bigs while we ran, and my sister, who was still up from DC, stayed home with Youkie. The weather could not have been better, the course was super flat, and I was feeling really mellow. Matt and I had been really good about sticking to our training plan (more on that in a later post) so I knew I was ready to run a fast race. For the first time ever, partially because there were only about 100 people there, Matt and I positioned ourselves at the front of the pack. There was a running club all dressed in matching uniforms and as we started and I singled out a girl that I thought I could stick with. She was running a little faster than I wanted to, but my goal was to just maintain the gap. This strategy worked until after the first 1.5 miles, when she started to slow waaaaay down. I was feeling great, a little panicked that I was running so fast, but as soon as I got out of my own head...I just cruised to the finish! I felt a little sick to my stomach when I finished, which was not helped by the total fear that I would vomit in front of my in-laws and my kids! I walked around alone for a few minutes until it passed. Matt and I looked around and we thought there was a fair chance that I had finished first in my age group! The kids were excited to see if I would get a ribbon, so we hung around for the awards. As it turned out I finished 2nd in my age group (16th overall) so I did not get an award, but I was still really proud! Matt finished 10th overall and was also second in his age group!
Matt - 24:29 April - 27:43
Portland Sea Dogs Mother's Day 5K
This brings us to May (finally)! What better day to run a race in May than Mother's Day?! Of all of the races we have done so far I was the most excited about this one. Partially because I knew it would have a huge crowd and partially because the finish line was inside The Portland Sea Dogs' stadium, Hadlock Field. Seriously, getting to cross home plate...how fun is that!?! The morning of the race was a little hectic. We got up around 6:30. I nursed the baby and pumped a bottle for him to have later. We had a little breakfast and gave the kids a bowl of cereal. We left the house at 7:45, dropped the big kids off with Matt's parents (Mimi made them a killer breakfast! And then they brought the kids in town for the race) and Mr. Hugh off with my parents. Knowing that there was going to be a big crowd I was all antsy in the pantsy to find parking and get to the start area. We ran into a few people we went to high school with, which was super fun. As we were chatting I heard a snap and just like that my ponytail fell! Are you kidding me, 5 minutes until the start of the race and my hair elastic broke!? I started desperately searching the wrists of every single woman near by. Luckily there were a lot of people making their way to the pace markers, and I stopped a group of sweet looking high school girls to ask them to hook a mama up! Thankfully the girl I approached happily gave me her extra...seriously made my day! Matt and I positioned ourselves at the front of the 9min/mile pack. Given that there were almost two thousand people there, the race was chipped so I wasn't really all that concerned about my start position. Additionally, I had just run 8.5 miles two days before and my plan was to take it sort of easy. Matt and I jogged along together for about a half mile before he decided he was going to go on ahead. I was feeling great and running just over a 9min/mile pace. I decided I would pick it up a little just to see how I would feel. It was HOT, but the crowds were good and the other runners around me were all having a good time. After we passed the 1.5 mile mark I knew I was making pretty good time. Finishing inside Hadlock was just as much fun as I thought it would be! The older couple in front of me stopped and walked across the finish line hand in hand! While their gesture was very sweet, it cost me a PR, haha. I am totally just kidding, jogging along with my husband at the start of the race cost both of us a PR as a matter of fact. They gave out flowers to the moms at the finish, and seeing my kids beaming at me as we met up was the best feeling!
Matt - 24:37 (19/58 in his age group) April - 27:43 (48/217 in my age group)
So here we are, runners. We think about running, we talk about running, we read about running...you get the idea. Up next we are running the Sea Dog Father's Day 5k in June.
This is a thing, I am a running mom.