Going the Distance for Autism 5K – Race Report
This race was about a half an hour from home and had a later-than-what-I’m-used-to 9am start so I planned on leaving home around 745. I figured the kids would wake me up in plenty of time but I set my alarm just in case they decided to sleep in. As if on cue, I heard my youngest talking about 10 minutes before my alarm was set to go off.
I got both kids up & gave them breakfast and sent them up with some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on TV. I was going to get myself a little something to eat but I started feeling the urge to go #2. I don’t know about anyone else, but I am very happy when my body is nice to me and eliminates before a race. As I’ve mentioned before, GI issues at a race are a huge fear of mine. Plus, I’ve always had this irrational phobia of going #2 in public places; weird, I know. Anyhow so this great thing soon turned into a not-so-great thing. (sorry, this is going to be TMI; skip to the next paragraph if you can’t stomach a little poop talk) My stool was loose and my stomach was pretty upset. I usually ride things out but, since I was going to be on the road and racing, I jumped the gun and took some anti-diarrhea meds.
I woke up my husband so that he could have breakfast before we left and got myself a granola bar & some water. I usually race on an empty stomach but I better have a little something in my stomach today due to the late start. As usual, we didn’t leave the house on time. We were about 15 minutes behind schedule but we still had plenty of time to get there on time so I wasn’t worried.
The ride was uneventful, other than my upset stomach. We managed to grab one of the last parking spots in one of the smaller parking lots and unloaded the car. We headed toward the crowd and I got into the packet pick-up line with my 3-year-old while my husband waited on the opposite side of the road w/ our 22 month old in the stroller. There were several people in line but the wait wasn’t too long. I’d say it was no more than 5 minutes between getting in line and getting my packet. A volunteer gave my 3-year-old a cool Autism awareness bracelet while another got my packet out of a box. He thought it was so cool! 🙂 We headed back to where my husband was waiting. I think I had about 20 minutes before race start as I got myself ready. I pinned my bib to my shirt, strapped on my iPod, put my ankle brace on & switched my everyday watch for my Garmin. With 15 minutes left, I decided to find the booth for the boys’ speech therapy clinic. It didn’t take long to find them and the girls from the clinic seemed happy to see the boys. Each boy got a pinwheel, we talked for a couple of minutes and then I had us head back to the start area so that I could do a very quick warm up.
I didn’t have long at all, I think there were 10 minutes left before the race start, maybe less. I ran for just under 5 minutes to get the juices flowing and stretched where my husband was. People started congregating near the start line as I was finishing up with my stretching and, after a quick picture with my 22 month old (3-year-old refused to take a picture with me), I joined them.
There were a couple of guys who attempted to shout directions to us runners prior to race start but I didn’t understand 75% of what they said. A megaphone would have probably been a good idea. National anthem was sung and we were off. Let me just say that I got a taste of what it’s like to be a faster runner and race with kids present. Not cool. I had one boy cut me off about a quarter-mile into the race which really annoyed me. I bee-lined to a free area next to me and blew past him so that I wouldn’t have to deal with his inconsideration for other runners. Ugh, really irritating and something I’ve never had to deal with in the past. I was going at a pretty good clip and, when I looked down, my pace was in the low 8’s. I tried to keep my eyes off of my Garmin and just go with how I felt. This made the first 2 miles fly by rather quickly. After that, I noticed I was getting really hot, even though there had already been a couple of water stations, and I was quickly losing steam. I walked for a very short bit a couple of times and pressed on. I’m not sure when it started but three of us girls started playing tag during the last mile or so. We’d run side-by-side, one would stop to walk and we’d pass her, then someone else would stop to walk while the previous walker was back to running and we’d meet up again, and repeat. It was a serious fight for me to the finish. I was spent and it took everything I had to continue running. I was so relieved when I came around the final turn but was soon filled with disappointment because the finish line seemed to be getting farther away instead of closer. During my last walk, the two girls caught up to me running and one of them said something about being able to do this and we could do this together because we’d been fighting for it for a while. And I took off running with them. Unfortunately, I really didn’t have the energy to keep up the pace and I had to pull back after what seemed like forever. One of the girls pulled back with me as she couldn’t keep up the pace of the third girl either. I was filled with disappointment as I watched her pull away from us. Still, the finish line seemed to be getting farther away from us. I swear, this last quarter-mile was the LONGEST of my life. It seemed like it would never end. I continued to run with the same girl and I think I muttered some profanities along the way. lol (If you ever find & read this, girl in the pink shirt, please excuse my French) We were finally nearing the finish line and I felt like I was knocking on death’s door. I was so hot and so done. I did peak at the clock as I ran up to it and I saw 28:01 & 28:02, then I crossed. I’m not sure what my final time was but I’m guessing somewhere in the 28:05 area. (I’ll update when the results are posted online). I got a card to fill out from a volunteer, I got a bottle of cold water and walked it off. My husband missed me crossing because he was dealing with a toddler & balloon dilemma and apparently he forgot to take the lens cap off as she shot off a the first couple of post race pictures of me. Fail! lol He got a few pictures of me looking like death, trying to walk it off and filling out my time card. I also noticed a professional photographer at the finish line, but I noticed him too late. I’m sure my finishing pictures will be real winners *sarcasm*.
I headed over to where my husband & the boys were waiting for me. I opened my water and didn’t get a sip in before both boys were yelling at me for a drink of my water. Good grief! Such is the life of a Mom! I continued to drink & stretch. At some point, my husband asked me if the heat bothered me because he heard from the faster runners that they were done before they finished, too. Made me feel better that the more seasoned runners had difficulty during today’s race, too. The boys were getting rowdy so I figured we should head back over to the girls from their therapy clinic and perhaps that would calm them. We hung out there for a while. The boys each got a cookie, played with balloons, loved on the girls and I’m sure they got in the way a few times, too. Once they started to get unruly again, we headed toward the water for a change of scenery. We let them run a bit and got some pictures and I wanted to go back to the race start to see what my time was. I figured they’d have preliminary results posted somewhere but I was wrong. I didn’t find anything. The 3-year-old announced he had to pee so Daddy took him to the bathroom while I waited outside with the other one. Not a minute after they went into the bathroom, I heard someone asking everyone to gather near the stage area (next to the water) for the awards ceremony. I walked a bit but was still in view for when they came out. They finally emerged and we made our way to the stage area. I parked the stroller under some shade and we waited for things to get rolling. MC said some stuff & announced some names, a man (or older teenager, not quite sure) with autism sang a couple of songs (and he sang very well!), and they finally started to announce the winners. I’ll admit, even though I didn’t know my final time, I thought I had a chance at placing. Once again, I was wrong. The girl in the pink shirt I finished with ended up getting 2nd or 3rd in her age group (age group below mine) and I thought that was pretty awesome!
When they were announcing winners, my 22 month old started to cry hysterically for no reason. It was clear he had had enough and was ready for a nap after such a big morning. So, we decided to leave before all of the winners were announced. We made our way back to the car, changed a diaper, loaded everyone & everything and we were on our way.
Considering how hot it was, I’m very happy with my performance. It’s impossible to PR at every race, even though it’d be nice to do so. 😉