I ran my first stroller race yesterday, the Firecracker 6, and I nailed it! I did so awesome! I amaze myself!
Not really, I pretty much sucked. I won’t sugarcoat it and say, oh, but at least I went out there and did my best and that’s all that matters! I will say that I didn’t come in last, I got in a good workout, got my racing fix, had a tiny bit of fun and spent some quality time with the baby friend, so, I’m good.
I’ve done five miles with the stroller and six without, so I knew in the very least that I was capable of completing the distance. My real concern was getting out the door in time. Lately I’ve had grand intentions of running earlier in the morning but I can somehow never make it out quite early enough, and while I’d like to attribute it to the baby, it really just amounts to general lazy fuckery. So my goal was to leave the house by 6:45 in order to get downtown with plenty of time to park and make a 7:30 packet pickup (a pitfall of late registration).
Kenzie woke up on her own at 6:15, which was perfect timing. I fed her, changed her, dressed myself, made coffee and we were out the door by 6:50. I put the stroller and diaper bag in the trunk the night before, which was the only thing I managed to do in advance, although if I could have put the baby in the car the night before too, that would have helped a lot.
Metered spots downtown were free for the holiday, and I actually–quickly, even–found the choicest of parking spots, an end-spot (so I could pull in!) two blocks from the starting line. It was like a dream. I whipped my stroller out of the trunk, tossed the baby in, clicked my heels together and bounded off down the sidewalk, tits bouncing and ponytail bobbing.
So I made it to packet pickup with five minutes to spare, where to my chagrin I found the registration tables at the top of a flight of stairs, and not a got-damn elevator in sight. I won’t tell you how I managed to get up there, but I can assure you it did not involve me asking a couple of complete strangers to watch the baby while I ran upstairs real quick.
At this point, I’m just thinking about how easy it was before, when all I had to do was get up and drive myself to the race and run it. People who are not moms who get stressed about the logistics of running a race can officially kiss my ass. Oh, you lay out your race shirt the night before with your bib number already pinned onto it? That’s adorable.
I made my way down past all 850 runners to the very end, dead last, back of the pack to start the race. The race website had the standard CYA statement that nobody ever adheres to, prohibiting bicycles, skateboards, baby joggers, roller blades, animals and headphones, but I emailed the race director before I registered just to see if it was really okay to run with the stroller. I fully expected him to tell me that strollers were not permitted, in which case I would not have shown up for the race, but he replied that I was welcome to run as long as I started in the back.
Jesus. I’m almost inclined to quit this recap right now. All this buildup just to tell you how I started in the back and blew my load in the first mile because my Garmin wouldn’t sync up and I couldn’t gauge how fast I was going because everyone around me was walking. I just ran like a kid and passed a lot of people and felt happy about it.
Like this one guy jogging with his wife who was like, “Hey, we just got passed by a stroller!” And she replied, “If you want to run faster, GO AHEAD!”
When the Garmin finally synched up around mile 2: 9:25. Fuck. I stopped passing people. Wiped the shit-eating grin off my face. Slowed the fuck down.
The course covered a lot of the monuments and other important landmarks and shit in Indy, so I tried to pay attention to more than just the top of the baby’s head, but it was hard. The downtown streets were a lot bumpier than my little fitness trail in the ‘burbs. And, you know, it’s all fun and games until the baby gets catapulted because you didn’t see that pothole.
I made it to about mile 4 at a 10:30 pace before the heat started getting to me. While the baby was lounging under her canopy and napping, I was sweating balls and remembering that the days I did five and six miles were back in May and June when it was 20° cooler.
I finally had to walk a little in miles 5 and 6, and I’m not going to lie to you and tell you it didn’t feel like failure. It was a long last mile. After a stretch in direct sun, we headed back between the downtown buildings and the final 100 yards was shrouded in blessed shade.
I finished, not strong, in 1:10, which I initially believed was a PW, but embarrassingly, it turns out I finished a 10k a couple years ago in 1:15.
Bottom line though, I’m really glad I did it. As pathetically as I ran, I needed to do it. Just next time, I’m not going to do it in July.
TL;DR: I ran, sweat balls, the baby was there, and then we went home.