This past weekend I ran in what I can honestly say is my most intimidating race of the year. Yes, it’s only one mile but it’s ONE MILE! Was I ready for it? Not quite. I think I was more ready physically than mentally.
The week got off to a rough start with the stomach bug which hit myself and our younger three kids. By Tuesday I was running again and I thought everyone was in the clear. Friday, the day before the race my husband came down with it pretty bad and I knew there was no way he was heading to Little Rock with the family for the race. We’ve been married for 14 years now and I’ve rarely seen him that sick. I asked him if I should even go but there was not much I could do for him at the house and we wanted to keep the kids as far from him as possible. Yes, if you’re keeping track of our summer we’ve had head lice followed two weeks later by the stomach bug…. Not the best way to start the summer.
So Friday afternoon I packed and loaded up my younger three for Little Rock. My oldest daughter was visiting extended family with her grandparents in California so it was just me and the little ones. We missed packet pickup but I ran into one of the race directors outside the store and she assured me that we were all set to pick up everything in the morning. (Erin from Go! Running is awesome!) My packet was at the hotel already. I should mention that this is the third year in a row that Go! Mile has generously provided me with elite entry and hotel accommodations for this race. As nervous and scared as I was thinking about the race I tried to remind myself to enjoy the experience. (In case you were wondering a comped race and hotel definitely adds some pressure to want to do very well!)
We stopped for dinner at a small bread/ bistro restaurant. It was right near packet pickup and the reviews online said child-friendly. Let’s just say it was a little fancier (and pricier) than I had in mind- at least when it was me and three kids! But I decided we would try it since I didn’t want to drive around, park, and find another place. The kids were hungry and wanted to get to the hotel.
The highlight of our trip was the hotel. The last two years we’ve stayed at The Capital in downtown Little Rock which is awesome but the Crowne Plaza HAS A POOL! These kids were so excited about the pool.
Race morning started around 6:30. I got ready and then woke up the kids just before 7. We were at the race by 7:30. Go! Mile has 7 different heats. Anna was racing in the 39 & under heat which started at 8:10 so I had plenty of time to put bibs and chips on the kids. However, this is when things got a little complicated. With different race start and finish times (and kids in multiple races) I definitely needed some help with the kids. Fortunately, my friend’s teen-age daughter kept an eye on whichever kids were currently not racing. My warm-up was a bit choppy and consisted of running back and forth dropping kids off for their race and meeting them mid race to run them in to the finish.
Anna finished in 11:39. Not her fastest mile but this was a big race and I’m proud of her for sticking with it. Then it was time for the 39 & under men’s race. Anthony finished in 8:50. I was able to jog the last bit with both of them. I love being able to run with my kids at races but it’s much more stress-free after my race. My race started at 8:50. It was almost 80 degrees at that point and I was just thankful it was a short race.
Based on recent race times and current fitness level I knew I should be able to run around a 5:20 or even less if I was having a good race. My PR in the mile was from two years ago at Go! Mile when I ran a 5:17. Last summer I ran a 5:20. This meant I needed to be just under 80 second quarters.
1st Quarter- 79 sec. As you can imagine it was a fast start and a bit crowded- everyone taking off as fast as they could. It felt so hard and I still had so far to go!
2nd Quarter- 83 sec. Too slow.
3rd Quarter- 87 sec. Much too slow! Now we’re moving into 5k pace?!
4th Quarter- 80 sec. Glad I was at least able to finish a little stronger but those two middle quarters added the 10 seconds I didn’t need!
Official Time: 5:31 (8th Female.) This race is the National RRCA 1 Mile Championship Race so there were actually four women who ran a sub 5-minute mile! Official Results can be found here.
After I grabbed some water and caught up with some teammates I jogged back over to the kids. It was almost time for Ashton to head to the Mini Mile. The mini mile race is a quarter mile race for all kids 9 and under. Ashton did great. When he finished and they put a medal around his neck he said, “Did I win?!” I just nodded and told him he did great. Then he wanted to see the dinosaurs.
My cool-down consisted of jogging the mini mile with Ashton. I just couldn’t ask my friend’s daughter to keep an eye on them any longer. Not having John with me really made me appreciate all the times he is there at races to watch kids, cheer, keep track of our stuff, and provide moral support. It’s one thing for me to run a race by myself but trying to coordinate 4 different race starts/ finishes without him was a little tough.
The overall winner was Dan Kirwa, who ran a 4:22! He is also from our hometown and in our running club. My friend and training buddy Kem won the Masters division and set a new Masters state record for women with a 5:37!
My friend Tracy (below, pictured in center) ran a 5:07 and won her AG. Can you believe she just had a baby less than a year ago?! My training buddy and friend Natalie placed third in this tough age group.
After the race we went back to the hotel. We had until 12 pm to check out and you better believe we were going to use the time wisely… Back to the pool! I may or may not have had to bribe them with the pool at some point during the morning.
After we checked out we had lunch at Moe’s Grill.
Our last stop in Little Rock was back to the Clinton Presidential Library & Museum. Go! Mile provided free kids museum passes in each race bag and I thought it would be a fun outing while we were in the neighborhood and had plenty of time. Poor John was home resting and just wanted to sleep.
This was actually my first visit to the museum. The President Clinton memorabilia was very educational and if the kids were older we could have spent much more time there. They were mostly interested in the dinosaur exhibit. (“Dinosaurs Around the World” opened April 25 and runs through Oct. 18.)
The kids LOVED the Dinosaur exhibit. If you live in the area you should definitely check it out before it leaves in October. I hadn’t planned on doing all this in one race weekend but it really worked out to be a fun weekend with my younger three.
Training continues. Despite the heat and days when running is plain hard I know I have a bigger goal ahead. My best days are not behind me and I am going to keep moving forward. The Fast Firecracker is on July 4th so I’m getting ready for it. I don’t think the kids are going to do this one. They’ve been racing a lot and may sit this one out (unless Abi really wants to run it). I’m going to get re-focused and hopefully have a really good race!!
When was the last time you raced an all-out mile?
Do you have a 4th of July race on the calendar?