Yesterday was a very exciting day because I ran my first 5K with Zain. I’ve been running with him for close to a year and I was really looking forward to racing with him. I didn’t have very high expectations for my finish time because I ran 12 miles on Saturday morning so I knew my legs would be tired on Sunday. It turned out that my tired legs weren’t what slowed me down!
Zain was ready to go at the starting line with a little snack in case he needed some fuel on the road.
There was one major flaw with the race that affected my whole race experience: they started those of us with strollers behind the people who planned to walk the race. So what were we supposed to do if we planned to run with our stroller? There were 3,000 participants and quite a few of them were walkers so that meant us running moms with strollers were stuck behind a wall of walkers when the race kicked off. I know they say participants with strollers should start in the back for safety reasons, but there’s nothing safe about a running mom trying to navigate a jogging stroller through so many walkers or slower runners.
This set the scene for a frustrating race experience. Because there were so many participants, the crowd never really thinned out to make room to pass people. They reminded us at the start to move to the right if you were amongst runners and decided to start walking and that you should pass people on their left hand side. I stayed to the left the entire race to try to get in front of people walking or running slower than me.
I can run between a 9 and 10 minute mile with the stroller and it was hard for me to pass so many people. I can’t imagine how frustrating it was for the amazing moms out there that can run 6-7 minute miles with their strollers. They must have really struggled to get through the crowd!
My pace was never consistent – it was a steady pattern of speed up to pass someone, slow down stuck behind another slow person, then speed up again, and that continued throughout the entire race. I happy to say I was able to safely pass runner/walkers throughout the race without plowing anyone down or hitting them; I was a little afraid of that during the race whenever someone would jump right in front of the stroller!
I did have a bit of a run in with the curb while trying to pass someone toward the end of the race. I said “on your left” so I could pass her about 6 times, loud enough that she should have heard me but I guess her music was too loud. I had enough space to go around her, but because she still did not notice me, she moved in front of me at the last second and I had to swerve. I wasn’t going very fast, but I still bumped the curb. It was incredibly frustrating.
I’m not a fast runner (with or without the stroller!), but I had a really hard time with how much I was slowed down in this race because of the way they had us line up at the start. My first mile was 11:00 (I couldn’t even start running for the first minute or so past the starting line), second was 9:51 and third was 9:19; my chip time was 31:27. I think it would have been more fair for those with jogging strollers who planned to run to be able to start with their pace group or at the very least in front of the walkers. I do plan on contacting the race organizers to suggest that for next year.
Even though it sounds like I’m mostly complaining here, I did really enjoy the race. Zain was fascinated by the experience and I loved having him with me to run. Having the stroller was also a nice convenience because I never needed to stop at the water stops since I had my water right in front of me. That also gave me an opportunity to go around a big chunk of people at the stops.
The race course through Federal Hill in Baltimore was really fun. We only encountered 2 big hills and I will admit I had a lot of fun passing people going uphill while pushing the stroller. It made me feel stronger :). Unfortunately, I didn’t really get a chance to take in the sights; I was so focused on passing people and not running over one of the many potholes that Baltimore has to offer that I didn’t get to look around much.
Hopefully our next 5K experience will be a little bit better!
- Race Recap: ZOOMA Annapolis Half Marathon (the-running-mom.com)
- Staying motivated… (the-running-mom.com)
- Sometimes when you REALLY do not feel like running… (the-running-mom.com)