There is a local 10k here that I have always loved called the Mercedes Benz Cotton Row 10k. This is one of my favorites because the whole community turns out for it. I see more than the usual suspects (regulars - which are always fun to see too) as all kinds of friends, co-workers, and family train for the 10k or the 5k race. It is always held on Memorial Day and it always feels like a special way to remember those who gave their lives for our great country as a special prayer is said, Taps is played, and "America, the Beautiful" is sung over the loud speaker before each race.
As the race approached this year, however, at 30 weeks pregnant I thought it might be too hot for me to attempt. After the Run Through the Roses 10k a few weeks ago, I just wasn't sure as the weather grew warmer and my belly grew bigger that I would be up for another 10k during this pregnancy. Still, in the back of my mind was a tiny bit of regret at missing one of my favorite local races...and so as the race drew near, Jason and I began to discuss the possibility. He was open to it, but made me promise over and over again that I would be careful, go slow, hydrate and stop if it got too hard. I promised over and over again I would do all of these things knowing that I did not want to mess with the heat factor while pregnant.
I planned to run with my mom, but told her she could and should run her own race and leave me if she wanted to. While, yes, I was almost 30 weeks pregnant, I believed I could take it easy and be just fine. When race day arrived, Mom decided to stay with me until Jason came back for me and then she ran off to get in one last fast mile. I kind of wish she would have run her own race if she wanted, but just as she needed to trust me when I said I could be left behind, I needed to trust her when she said she wanted to stay with me. I think I surprised her by just how cautious and careful (slow) I ran, but I didn't know how this 10k was going to feel, I didn't know how I would do in the heat, and I just wanted to finish feeling good and with the baby girl feeling fine too. The goal was to enjoy the race and feel good at the end, and that goal was achieved!
I did feel good! I ran a slow 11:00-12:00 minute pace, just trotting along. I saw a few friends along the way, along with another mother and daughter who asked about the pregnancy. The daughter said I had inspired her to run when she was pregnant, and I told her it had really been great and helped me feel good throughout.
Mom sometimes ran ahead and sometimes ran beside me. When we got to the mega hill at mile 3, she said she wanted to run it, but would wait for me at the top. I walked (marched) it and it felt really good! I usually run it and so walking it was a bit of a treat. They play the Rocky theme song on the hill every year and it always makes me grin. Even though I was running slower and walking the hill, I still felt triumphant as I reached the top.
It was hot, but we had a nice breeze and plenty of shade along the course and I think that helped immensely. The only negative for me was during the last 2 miles I REALLY had to pee. REALLY BAD. I felt GREAT otherwise and wanted to pick up the pace a little. I even looked around for a place to go, but we were mostly in neighborhoods so I never found one suitable. When Jason got to me, he said I could just go as I ran and we could hose me off later. I laughed but did not take him up on his suggestion.
When we rounded the final corner before the finish line came into view, I looked at Jason and said, "I did it!" Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised, but I felt relieved and proud that I'd run the 6.2 miles at almost 30 weeks pregnant and I was finishing with a smile on my face. I didn't feel too tired or too hot or uncomfortable at all (besides my bladder, that is) and that to me was a huge blessing! I thanked God for a safe and fun run, as I saw and heard several friends who had already finished the race cheer me through the finish line.
The race volunteers handed me a bottle of water and Jason promptly instructed me to drink it all. I did, but also stated that I needed to make my way to the ladies room while doing so. Whew! Such relief!! I felt like there was a ton more room in my belly when I finally got to go!
All in all it was a wonderful day and a great race experience. It was fun to run with Mom and Jason, fun to see so many running friends, fun to run one of my favorite races even while pregnant, and I could not have been more grateful for the day! Well...until Jason's muffins came out of the oven after I'd had a nice, cool shower. That was a pretty fantastic moment too.