Two weeks ago Saturday morning dawned the coolest, most crisp morning of the fall. Somehow the weather knew it should deliver the first freeze in time for marathon weekend and then revert back to warmer days. (No, I did not run the marathon.)
Speedy and I were still up early as we loaded into the car and drove to Saint Paul for a 7:30 start. He slept the whole way during the dark drive, and the sun was barely starting to color the eastern sky as we looked for a parking spot.
The temperature was just above freezing, but the air was still and calm. If it would have been windy or rainy I would have skipped the race or tried to find someone to watch him while I ran.
As it was, I bundled my half-sleeping baby under blankets, hat, and mittens, and we walked through the State Capitol grounds to wait in line for our numbers.
I still haven’t been running a lot since little man arrived, but I love running with the stroller when I make the time. I’ve worked my way up to reasonable comfort over six miles, and I had several friends I wanted to connect with and introduce to Speedy at the expo.
This race was about having fun, making a happy memory with my son, and reminding myself I’m still capable of running for an hour and covering the miles.
There were a very few strollers and we all lined up near the dead back of 2,000+. The morning was gorgeous, and I chatted with a few moms who wished me well or said my stroller made them lonesome for their own babies.
My mental game throughout was carefully navigating through and passing as many people as we could. I would be thrilled if I finished under one hour, but I assumed that would be a stretch.
The first mile was absolute bumper to bumper congestion, and I said quite a few “Sorry!” and “Excuse Me’s!” as I jogged along with my sleeping boy.
The course is an out and back along the last few miles of the main race course, so I recognized everything from running the TC 10 Mile in 2012. The Summit Avenue neighborhood is stunning, and a few eager spectators even came out to cheer us along.
I had my phone in my stroller to track time and distance, but it was tucked away where I wouldn’t look at it or stress over it. I finally found a good groove around the second mile and felt like I had space to run the pace I wanted to run. Normally I’m exhausted by mile three when I’m trying to race a 10K, but with the slow start and adrenaline of passing people I kept motoring along.
I got a few cheers now and then and I couldn’t keep from smiling as I soaked up the autumn race atmosphere. Before I knew it I could see the Cathedral of Saint Paul, and I pushed hard as I worked toward the final long downhill into the finish at the Capitol.
The clock read just over 60:00, and with my start at the back I knew I’d broken the hour mark. Happiness and tiredness set in as I eventually fumbled for my phone and stopped the GPS.
Surprised would be an understatement! 8:59 pace — bam! I didn’t even worry about the extra distance I’d accumulated; I attributed it to the hazards of my first stroller 10K. However, several days post-race an email arrived where they apologized for a set-up mistake and amended the official distance from 10K to 6.48 miles. This makes me even more proud of my 58-minute time.
After checking on Speedy and munching on a banana I made my way back to my car to change and feed him. He was exceedingly patient with me through all the chaos, and I know he enjoyed watching the people everywhere.
After finding some hot and free Caribou coffee we made the walk to the other corner of downtown for the expo. I found my friend Jill right away and then later my friend Lani. Speedy was thrilled with both. At the expo we especially enjoyed the free things that made crinkly noises and Sarah and friends at the Another Mother Runner booth. If you are a fellow mother runner you need to check out their website and podcast.
The Twin Cities are a little far to drive for a 10K, but this year it was 100% worth it. Whenever harvest schedules cooperate I do hope to keep Twin Cities Marathon weekend a tradition. Too bad I can’t push a stroller in the ten mile, and I don’t think I’d want to in the marathon!
This race also reaffirms my content belief that I can be a runner — and even feel success at being a runner — without keeping a strict training schedule right now or running all the miles. I can enjoy the outlet and peace of running when it fits into my day, and I can be content in whatever amount of time that is. I can also spend time working, farming, being with my son and my husband, and doing all the daily to-do’s. I will never be caught up on all of them, but I can weave them together each day into something that works for me. Praise The Lord for the time he gives me, and I pray I can use it wisely and intentionally.
In case you’re a running numbers geek I’ll close by sharing my race splits. They turned out just beautifully if I do say so. 😄