Disclaimer: As a Gone for a Run Ambassador, I received a complimentary virtual race entry. As always, all opinions are my own.
A week and a half ago I ran my last long race for this pregnancy. While I’ll be toeing the start line of a half marathon in another three and a half weeks, I’ll be walking the majority of that race. And after the pain I experienced during and after Clarendon Day, I’m very happy with the decision that I have made about Rock ‘n’ Roll Philly.
I was very excited going into race day. Preston wasn’t initially going to be able to come with me to the race, but a last minute change to his calendar allowed him to come. That, coupled with being able to see a number of other bloggers, made this race that much more exciting.
Preston and I arrived in Clarendon around 8:00 a.m., which is when the 5k started. We had no issues finding parking, and within five minutes of arriving had both my race bib and t-shirt. We walked back to the car to drop off my shirt, and still had plenty of time to hit up a local coffee shop so that Preston could get himself a cup of coffee and we could both use a real bathroom. Around 8:45 we headed out towards the start line. The race was self seeded, and I positioned myself in the middle of the crowd on the far right side of the course, knowing that I’d be relying heavily on run-walk intervals during the race. The race started at 9:00 sharp, and as I started, Preston wished me good luck.
My plan going into the race was to try and maintain my 2:15/0:45 run-walk intervals. With the first 1.5 miles of the race almost all downhill, it was certainly tempting to keep running for longer than my planned two minutes and 15 seconds. At a couple of points during that first part of the race I ran an extra minute when the course took us on a steep downhill. While I wanted to take advantage of the downhill, I also didn’t want to overexert myself, especially during the first part of the race.
After running down what’s called the “hill of death” in Rosslyn (running uphill on it is a huge challenge), the course took us out onto the highway headed towards the Pentagon. After the “hill of death” the course leveled out, and the remainder of the course had slight elevation increases and decreases. I felt strong until about 3.5 miles into the race, when I found myself feeling more and more pressure from the baby, as well as some round ligament pain.
The further that I ran, the more that I wanted to walk. But I tried to talk myself out of the “need” to walk and focused on maintaining my 2:15/0:45 intervals. While my pace slowed significantly, I tried to focus less on my pace and more on just putting one foot in front of the other. There was a turnaround point on the course around 4.5 miles, and the course doubled back on itself. It was definitely a mental help to see that I wasn’t the last runner, or close to it, which is part of what helped to keep pushing me forward past the pressure and pain.
I slowly but surely made my way towards the finish line, and finished at 1:10:24 (11:20 pace). Given that my pace was all over the place, and that I was in pain during most of the second half of the race, I’m impressed that I ran this race as quickly as I did.
After crossing the finish line, I immediately saw Preston, as well as a handful of other local bloggers. It was great to be able to catch up with everybody, as well as to help cheer in a couple of other bloggers as they crossed the finish line.
Although part of the race packet included a Metro ticket to get back up the hill to the start line area, we all opted to walk instead. While I was in pain, I know that walking and letting my body stretch itself out was a better option than potentially tightening up during the short Metro ride back up into Clarendon.
And while 10k runners did not receive medals (only double participants did – those who ran both the 5k followed by the 10k), I did still earn a medal for running Clarendon Day since I also completed the “Run Now Beer Later Virtual 10k” that morning. It was nice to be able to come home and put my hard earned bling around my neck. The medal was a great way to commemorate my last long race that I’ll run until after the baby is born. And I’ll be cashing in on my hard earned beer after my little guy’s arrival.
Like I shared a couple of days after this race, Clarendon Day was a good indicator of what my body is able to handle at this point in my pregnancy. Three miles seems to be my threshold before pressure and round ligament pain set in, and I’ll be limiting myself to running that distance between now and when the baby is born. But I definitely look forward to returning to higher mileage runs after the baby is born, especially when I’ll be working towards getting my pre-pregnancy body back!
QOTD: What race have you recently run that was physically and mentally challenging?