Thursday, March 31, 2016

Half Marathon Training Recap Week 7: Shamrocks and Jogging Strollers

At the end of my week as a pirate, I had an 8 mile long run scheduled for Saturday.  I had made the decision awhile ago to move it to Sunday to align with the 2 mile Shamrock Shuffle in Manchester, NH that I was registered for.  Somewhere along the line, probably before I started my training plan, I thought it was a good idea to push my 35 pound toddler in her 22 pound jogging stroller (if you did the math right you came up with a total of 57 pounds) during it.  This would mean I would run 6 miles before the race and then 2 miles during it so that I got my 8 mile long run in that weekend.
6 treadmill miles pre-race!  

Brilliant, right?

It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be but it did require a fair bit of planning.  I had to make sure I got up early enough to get 6 miles in before we left and we had to get to the start line early because our 3 year old ran in the kids' Leprechaun Dash beforehand.  We did it and everything went off (nearly) without a hitch.  

And the Leprechaun Dash?  Yeah, that was hell.  It was a mess of 50-75 children under the age of 4 running 100 yards.  Doesn't sound terrible but then you throw in some barricades that kept you from getting to your kids after the race and now you're just doomed.  I won't lie, there was a brief period of time that Scarlett wasn't being watched and was for all intents and purposes "lost."  Luckily, she stayed with her classmate who also ran the race and who's parents were also searching for him so she was safe. Plus, the race organizers wouldn't let any unclaimied kids out of those same barricades that were keeping the frantic parents out.  Whew!

After the Dash we lined up at the way back of the pack that was designated for strollers and walkers.  There was a fair number of us lot of us.   I gave Scarlett a pep talk, really she had the easy part of just sitting there, and then we were off.  Well, after about 2 minutes of shuffling to the start line we were off.

This was the first race I've been in where I didn't wear my headphones.  I hate the thought of listening to myself breathe, but this time was different.  Since I didn't care about a PR (it was a 2 mile race and I was pushing a stroller) I was able to just take in all of the race atmosphere.  I overheard other runners/walkers supporting each other, parents encouraging their children to pace themselves, the cheerleaders cheering for the runners as they went by and even the drum corps that was stationed in the middle of the one and only hill to encourage runners to keep going.  It was great!  I even got to hear Scarlett quip, "Mommy, why you no running?" as I struggled to push nearly 60 extra pounds up said tough hill.  Once we made it back to Elm Street where the race started, we had the extra encouragement of the St. Patrick's Day parade spectators who were already lining the street.  Scarlett was so quiet that I knew she had to be soaking it all in.

At the start of the race, I told my husband, Matt, "I'll see you in 25 minutes!'  Even though I can run a 9 minute mile, I didn't know what I was capable of when pushing a toddler in a stroller.  Lo and behold, I surprised myself by finishing in 21:23!  Even after 6 miles and pushing all that extra weight, I was cutting in front of the regular runners just to keep up the pace that my legs wanted me to go.

Even though fitting in my long run and coordinating it with this little race was an extra headache, I really enjoyed the family atmosphere.  I've already told Scarlett that we're doing it next year, but she's got to run with me!  Maybe I'll even get Matt to join us too.