Monday, July 22, 2013

Anna’s First 5k

A few months ago, Anna mentioned that she would like to run a 5k sometime. I jumped at the opportunity for her to start running. I really liked the idea of going on runs with Anna. She is my better half and I love spending time with her. So by getting in involved in running, we could have the ability to hang out and still getting in our mileage. Also, having both of us as health as possible is a bonus for our whole family. There is no telling how many calories Anna burns by keeping up with the boys all day long. But I thought that by running, she could help herself by relieving some of the stress that comes with being a full time Mommy.

So we looked for some local 5k races that were going to take place in the next few months. After discussing a few possibilities, she decided that she wanted to run in the Gallop 4 the Greenways 5k on May 11th. I thought this would be a great first 5k course, since it was relatively flat. Also, Anna liked that there was a kids’ fun run before the 5k and a beach party following the race. The Gallop 4 the Greenways 5k is an annual fund raising event for the Roanoke River Greenway, a network of pedestrian and bicycle trails in Roanoke.

Having a target race day scheduled, Anna wanted me to put together a simple running schedule for her to start. Since she had not being running at all, I built a very informal running plan to slowly get her running for longer durations of time. I believe the first few weeks had runs/walks of around 20 minutes. Week by week, these runs worked up to 30 minutes sessions with longer periods of running. Anna was very dedicated with getting her runs in. I told her that she should plan on making each of the runs on the exact days scheduled, due to our crazy family routines. I didn’t want her to get discouraged if she missed a run here or there.
So when I would get home from work, Anna would get on our treadmill while I entertained the boys. On days that she could get on the treadmill at that time, she would get her run in after the boys were asleep. Having made some post-10:00 P.M. runs on the treadmill myself, I knew how horrible those runs can be. But Anna did awesome! As the race day got closer, she began to stress that she wasn’t going to be able to run the entire race. Anna is very competitive and she wanted to do the best she could possibly do in the race. I tried to reinforce the fact that she didn’t have to run the entire time and that is was perfectly acceptable to walk for periods of the race. Anna continued to get her runs in when she had the free time. I was so proud of her dedication!

As race day arrived, Anna started to have more anxiety of the race. Even though she didn’t talk about her anxiety, I could tell by the way she was acting. She was nervous about her first race, which was totally understandable. I still get nervous before every race, so I don’t think that is going to stop after she gets past her first race. This race was a little different than ones I have run because it started at 5 o’clock in the evening. We got to the race at about 4:30, but we had picked Anna and the boys’ race numbers up the night before. So everyone was ready for their runs. After hitting the bathroom a couple times, we made our way to the starting line.

The kids’ race was about ½ a mile and the starting line was the same as the 5k race. The course was a simple down and back format, so the finish line was back at the starting point of the 5k race. Since Anna had to be ready to start the 5k, I had to run with Eli and Coy. I knew Eli was going to be much faster than Coy and I, so I told him beforehand that he needed to stop when he got too far in front of us. I didn’t want Eli to get out of my sight during the race and not knowing whether or not Anna was going to be able to be at the finish line, I didn’t want to lose Eli in a crowd of people.
The boys both did great. They both ran the entire race and Eli did a great job of letting Coy catch back up to him. Once we got close to the finish line, Eli decided he had enough of waiting for us and he sprinted to the finish. I got a little scared when I saw Eli running into the crowd of people at the finish line, until I heard Anna’s voice say “Go Eli”. I knew she would keep an eye on Eli, while Coy and I finished. The boys were so cute running there race. I love how they get so excited to run in a race. I hope they will always find running and exercising to be fun.
Just after the kids’ race was over, the 5k race started. I was able to spot Anna in the crowd of runners as they went by starting line. I was very strange watching a start of a race not taking part. Anna has been such a great supporter of me during numerous races, I was happy to stand on the sideline and cheer for once. As soon as all the runners had made their way past us, the boys and I went to the playground across the street to kill some time. After about 15 minutes, I rounded up the boys and we headed across the pedestrian footbridge and to the finishing area. We picked out a spot where we would be able to see Anna as she crossed the bridge and the finish line.

After 10 or so minutes, I spotted Anna coming across the footbridge. With only 50 yards left in the race, she looked very strong. I pointed her out to the boys and they both cheered and waved to their mommy. It was a very exciting moment for everyone. I was so proud of Anna. She had been so determined in her training for her first 5k. She had worked very hard to get to this point and she was about to accomplish her goal she had set months earlier. She crossed the finish line was a very respectful time for a first time 5k race.

Most of Anna’s family came out to cheer for her. So she had plenty of supports to greet her after the race. It was a great evening of racing. I was so proud of Eli, Coy, and Anna. They had all done so well in their races. It was nice to sit on the sidelines and be a supporter for a change. I owe it to Anna, since she has been so supportive of my running the past couple of years. The best news to come out of this race experience is that Anna wants to run another 5k! I was hoping she had a good enough racing experience that she would want to do it again. I look for to possible completing a race with my wife very soon.

Anna’s family all went home pretty quickly after the race was over. Anna, the boys, and I hung around to listen to some beach music and take in some of the festival that followed. The festivities were short lived though. Some very ominous storm clouds formed overhead. After a close lightning flash and crack of thunder, we headed to the parking garage. We had about 300 yards to make it to the covered garage, but we soon realized that we were not going to beat the downpour. Since the land is so flat and open down by the river, we could see the rain coming for about 30 seconds prior to getting wet. All the sudden the wind started gusting at about 30 miles per hour and the rain started. I was running with the both boys in the stroller at this point. Coy was terrified and was crying. I tried to pull down the sun shades over their seats, but the wind was blowing the rain sideways so it didn’t really help. By the time we made it to the garage we were soaked. The boys were in a state of shock. Anna was the only one of us with extra dry clothes. We had to strip down as much as possible for the ride home, but not before we stopped by Chipotle for some well-deserved burritos.

What a great day (minus the storm)!